Alaska Energy Authority Giving Out Grants For Long Distance Electric-Power Stations

During the days of the Alaska Gold Rush and beyond, entrepreneurs  set up their small log-and-canvas roadhouses along the Valdez Trail. Beca...

During the days of the Alaska Gold Rush and beyond, entrepreneurs  set up their small log-and-canvas roadhouses along the Valdez Trail. Because the trail was used by walkers, horseback riders – and even bicyclists – the businesses had to be relatively close together.  Roadhouses  were often within an easy walk from the next one up the trail  – 5 or 10 miles. 

For a horse on the trail, "fuel" was hay. Many roadhouses had hay fields nearby, operated by the lodge owner, and, in addition to lodging, roadhouses also provided hay for the horses: the gasoline of early Alaska. 

Today, there is a parallel to this entire concept. Not on our side of the state, where the Valdez Trail originally came through before being replaced by the Richardson – but over on the Parks Highway. 

Today, fuel is available up and down Alaska's highways in the form of gasoline at local gas stations. But next year there may be something new: a series of electrical recharging points along the Seward and Parks Highways. 

The Alaska Energy Authority is giving out a total of $1 million in grants to help "Railbelt" businesses install electric vehicle chargers. 

The Railbelt is said to start in Seward. It goes all the way to Fairbanks, and grant recipients include the Seward Chamber of Commerce and Three Bears in Healy, according to a story in Alaska Public Media.

This rush for electrical recharging hookups comes as the country begins to seriously look to brand-new electric cars and trucks as a powerful tie to the future.  

The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck in America for the past 44 years. In 2022, the Ford F-150 is going all-electric. 

Pickups are extremely popular in Alaska. Many Anchorage residents have several vehicles. They own a small, snappy vehicle for driving around town – but they also have a large trailer-hauling pickup for their adventures out on Alaska's roads. Like an F-150. 

Right now, you can't drive a huge electric pickup from Anchorage to Fairbanks without recharging the car. The only solution is to add electric charging to the mix along Alaska's  highways, just like gas stations – and before that, those big, predictably placed hay fields. 

Surprisingly, the Alaska Energy Authority is losing no time to get electrical charging up and running. 

Grant recipients who may be running these new electrical charging points on the Railbelt are at places around 50 to 100 miles apart. It's like the distances between lodges over a hundred years ago – only farther away from each other, of course. And no agricultural or hay-growing skills needed.  


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